Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Winter is doing his best to prevent 3 American-born men of Somali descent from joining ISIS. In fact, Mr. Winter is attempting to prevent the 3 Muslim men from being put into “community-involved plans.”
What’s known about this trio of men is that they “took a bus from Minneapolis to New York City in November and were stopped at JFK Airport before they could travel overseas.” Further, we know that the plan for Zacharia Musuf Abdurahman includes “regular counseling from an imam and three elders at a mosque that preaches against violent extremism, along with opportunities to work with children and to resume classes at a community college.”
It doesn’t make sense to let a suspected terrorist get near children and radicalize them. Letting Abdurahman return to classes at a local community college is just as foolish because it would give Abdurahman the opportunity to radicalize his fellow students.
Sheikh Abdisalam Adam, the imam at another mosque, said he views the men as victims stuck between cultures and searching for identity. Adam has filed papers supporting Musse’s and Ahmed’s plans and says his goal is to “try to redirect their desire for meaning and social engagement into something more productive here at home.”
Here’s why these men shouldn’t be given the opportunity to be put into this program:
Winter also cited a conversation in which Abdurahman allegedly told an FBI informant about his stance on efforts to de-radicalize him. In that March 15 conversation, Abdurahman said another man who tried to go to Syria — and later pleaded guilty to a terror charge — was participating in a de-radicalization program as an experiment.
“With me, all of us, we’re hopeless, we’re not gonna be in a program, bro. We will straight up serve time,” Abdurahman allegedly said. “They know they cannot change you. Because you’re an adult, you know.”
A basic tenet of human nature is that people don’t change unless they’re interested in changing. Based on these quotes, there’s nothing that says this trio is interested in forsaking the life of a terrorist. Because there isn’t proof of these men being interested in changing, this prosecutor has an affirmative responsibility to protect the public from the violence this trio might commit.
If somebody wants to try de-radicalizing this trio while they’re in prison, that’s fine. De-radicalizing them while they pose a threat to the public is a risk nobody should be willing to take.